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A’s stadium news: Another step forward for Howard Terminal in Oakland

Oakland Planning Commission vote is a success

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images

In a journey of a thousand steps, the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal stadium project took another one forward on Wednesday.

The Oakland Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend the project’s Environmental Impact Report for certification by the City Council, reports Casey Pratt of ABC7. The council could vote on their certification “likely mid-February,” per Pratt.

Back in December, the city released its final EIR for the waterfront ballpark district at Howard Terminal. The 3,500-page document analyzes how the $12 billion development is expected to affect the surrounding area in regard to transportation, housing, local industry, the environment, and other considerations. This latest vote, which came after another round of public feedback, moves the report closer to its final certification.

Completing the EIR process will be a major milestone in the A’s stadium saga, but it’s not the last one. There are still financial details to be ironed out, so that the team can get binding agreements on the terms of the project — they currently have non-binding agreements with the city and county. In other words, this news is a small step toward finishing a larger step but the biggest step of all still remains.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the following in a tweet Wednesday evening:

“Tonight’s Planning Commission decision to send the final environmental report (EIR) to the City Council for certification is a huge win for our entire region & puts Oakland one step closer to building a landmark waterfront ballpark district w/ the highest environmental standards.”

A few interesting notes from the meeting, via Pratt:

  • The gondola transportation idea is still up in the air. No application has been filed, “but it could be part of the project. It’s considered a project variant right now,” per Pratt.
  • A slide was presented tracking the timeline of which governmental steps have been completed and which still remain, such as zoning and permits.
  • No specific date yet on when shovels can hit the ground, but A’s President Dave Kaval says, “Within a year of getting final approvals.”
  • “Mr. Kaval ... I think you have work to do,” said planning commission chair Clark Manus, after the unanimous vote was complete.

It’s only one more small step, but every step is critical from here on out, and each one marks another piece of progress beyond any we’ve seen in a local ballpark project before. We’re not there yet, but we’re closer than ever to seeing the A’s stay in Oakland.

For more details on the state of the Howard Terminal project, revisit our update from last month.